Tensor Fascia Latae Muscle

Tensor Fascia Latae Muscle and the Iliotibial Band

Christine Wiese Anatomy, Lower Limb 2 Comments

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Exploring tensor fasciae latae and its related structure, the iliotibial band

Tensor Fascia Latae Muscle

What does tensor fascia latae mean?

The muscle name describes what the muscle does and where it’s located. The word “tensor” comes from the Latin word “tendere” which means “to tense”. “Fascia” comes from the Latin word for “band”. “Latae” comes from the Latin word “lata” which means “side or lateral”. You could combine those three words to get a muscle that tenses a band on the side. Tensor fasciae latae is often shortened to the TFL.

What does iliotibial band mean?

The first part of the word, “ilio”, refers to the ilium, the large flat bone of the pelvis. The second part of the word, “tibial” refers to the larger of the two lower leg bones, the tibia. Band refers to the fact that the iliotibial band is a narrow tendinous strip. Iliotibial band is often shortened to IT band.

Where does the tensor fascia latae muscle attach?

Origin

The tensor fasciae latae originates just behind (posterior) or to the outside of the Anterior Superior Iliac Spine or ASIS.

Insertion

Tensor fascia latae inserts on the iliotibial band. Tensor fascia latae is one of two muscles that insert onto the iliotibial band. The other muscle that inserts onto the iliotibial band is the gluteus maximus.

Where does the iliotibial band attach?

Origin

The iliotibial band is really a continuation of the tissue of the tensor fascia latae that originates on the ilium and becomes a tendinous band.

Insertion

The iliotibial band inserts on the lateral condyle of the tibia.

What actions does the tensor fascia latae do?

The tensor fascia latae can medially rotate and abduct the femur at the hip joint. Additionally, it assists in flexion and stabilizes the knee when it is extended as well as when we walk and run.

What actions does the iliotibial band do?

The iliotibial band acts to stabilize the knee, especially in walking and running.

Poses where the tensor fascia latae muscle contracts:

Tensor Fascia Latae Muscle in Navasana

We usually feel this muscle when we are flexing the hip joint and medially rotating at the same time. Navasana is an example of one of these places.

Poses where the tensor fascia latae muscle is lengthened:

supta virasana tfl

Lengthening the tensor fascia latae is not so easy. We need to extend, adduct and externally rotate. It’s unlikely that we would we ever do all of those things at the same time. We might be able to lengthen sections of it however. Supta virasana might lengthen it a bit as we extend the hip joint, especially if we lift the hips slightly.

baddha konasana tfl

Folding forward in baddha konasana would also lengthen some of the tensor fascia latae.

What about contracting or lengthening the iliotibial band in yoga?

The tension in the iliotibial band is really a function of the tension in the muscles that it originates from, the tensor fascia latae and the gluteus maximus. We wouldn’t likely have the intention of contracting or lengthening the iliotibial band itself in yoga, but if we’re aware of tension there, we could have the intention of lengthening either or both of the tensor fascia latae and the gluteus maximus to release some tension in the iliotibial band.

Trigger points

Trigger Points in the Tensor Fasciae Latae Muscle

Learn All of Your Muscles

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This website is simply about delivering yoga anatomy to the yoga community in a simple and understandable way. It has always been about you, the reader, understanding the complexity and diversity of our own humanness as well as our anatomy.

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Comments 2

  1. Pingback: Tensor Fascia Latae & IT band tightness | Wag-a-Yoga

  2. Hello David, I love this website and love your book, also have one of your courses and thinking about the 300 h course that looks very interesting to me. I have a question. I can have an uncomfortable feelings on the outside of my right knee. I have a full knee replacement on that side so it cant come from the joint. I started doing yoga seriously in November last year (Ashtanga Mysore style) . I also want to understand what is happening in my body. Im 53 and since I want to keep doing this as long as possible I think that understanding what is happening anatomically speaking is important. My hips are not very open yet, especially on the right side, maybe because of walking with a bad knee for quite some time. Is it possible that I’m feeling the attachment of the Iliotibial band to the knee. I feel it in sitting half lotus when my right leg is on my left leg. I don’t feel it when I do half lotus on the left and I also don’t feel it when I do the half lotus standing right and left. Do you have suggestions for poses or exercises I could do. Thank you

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